In-group bias can be detrimental for communities and economic development. We study the causal effect of financial constraints on in-group bias in prosocial behaviors – cooperation, norm enforcement, and sharing – among low-income rice farmers in rural Thailand, who cultivate and harvest rice once a year. We use a between-subjects design – randomly assigning participants to experiments either before harvest (more financially constrained) or after harvest. Farmers interacted with a partner either from their own village (in-group) or from another village (out-group). We find that in-group bias in cooperation and norm enforcement is not increased by financial constraints. By contrast, the results seem to suggest that in-group bias exists only after harvest, that is, when people are less financially constrained.

Stephan Meier and Suparee Boonmanunt
Journal Article
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Full Citation

Meier, Stephan and Suparee Boonmanunt
. “The Effect of Financial Constraints on In-Group Bias: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Thailand .” (January 24, 2023).